اخبار العرب-كندا 24: الأربعاء 22 مارس 2023 08:54 مساءً
Nearly six months after post-tropical storm Fiona roared through Atlantic Canada, the Cape Breton Regional Municipality is still trying to figure out what to do with thousands of damaged trees.
Solid waste manager Francis Campbell estimates that roughly 20,000 to 25,000 tonnes of wood waste was collected within the CBRM after the September storm.
Piles of debris are now sitting at a municipal disposal site in Sydney, N.S.
"It all came from Fiona," said Campbell. "This is three or four times what we could get in a normal year, and we've gotten it in five months."
Campbell said the amount of wood collected is close to the yearly amount of garbage CBRM collects and ships each year to a landfill on the mainland.
Fire hazard, space limited
Government crews, private contractors and homeowners brought the debris to CBRM's site and about one-third of the material has since been shredded to make way for more debris.
Campbell said the stockpiles pose a fire risk and are still taking up too much space.
The CBRM is now working on finding a business or organization to take the wood chips, but don't have a deal so far.
"That's the golden question, what are we going to do with it all?" Campbell said. "We're still exploring different avenues to see if someone can use it. We don't have an answer for it right yet. We will look for markets or anything that we can do to get rid of it."
Stephen Moore, executive director of Forest Nova Scotia, said CBRM may struggle to find a purchaser willing to take the material. The organization represents private, family-owned woodlots along with large companies such as pulp mills, sawmills and lumber yards.
Few markets for wood waste
"This waste wood and these downed trees — we're going to have them just releasing carbon into the environment as they rot and decay whether they're in landfills or sitting on the forest floor," Moore said.
"If we had markets for this product, we would be able to create paper products that trap that carbon away or another option [is] things like biomass for heat."
Moore said that the number of customers who require this type of waste product have plummeted in recent years and finding new markets needing a steady supply will take time.
Campbell hopes the provincial and federal governments will step in with more disaster relief funds, as the storm racked up expenses that were outside their regular budget.
CBRM is working on a plan to get the wood out of the dump because staff anticipate more room will be needed when the cleanup from Fiona resumes this spring.
"If you drive around the municipality, you can see that there's all kinds of trees still down," Campbell said.
"So you know, that's not all of it. There's going to be lots of it trickling in over the next year."
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